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Twitter Dubbed ‘Harvey Weinstein of Social Media’, Stock Falls

"Twitter's failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalised voices," Marin added

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Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

The Twitter stock nosedived over 12 per cent after a famed Wall Street analyst dubbed the micro-blogging platform the “Harvey Weinstein of social media”, days after an Amnesty International study found Twitter a “toxic” place for women.

In a note to investors, online investment newsletter Citron Research’s founder Andrew Left called the platform the “Harvey Weinstein of social media” and set a low target price of $20, TechCrunch reported.

Twitter immediately saw its stock plummeting over 12 per cent on Thursday.

Left cited the latest study by Amnesty that found Twitter was “a toxic place for women”, particularly women of colour, politicians and journalists.

“Citron has been following Twitter for years and when we read the just-published piece from Amnesty International, we immediately knew the stock had become uninvestable and advertisers will soon be forced to take a hard look at all sponsorships with Twitter,” Citron wrote in its report.

On December 18, an Amnesty International study said that on an average, women receive an abusive or problematic tweet every 30 seconds, adding that Twitter is a “toxic” platform for women.

“Women of colour (Black, Asian, Latinx and mixed-race women) were 34 per cent more likely to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets than White women,” showed the findings.

In his research note, Citron’s Left said that “we immediately knew the stock had become uninvestable and advertisers will soon be forced to take a hard look at all sponsorships with Twitter”.

Twitter CEO
Twitter on a smartphone device. VOA

Left added that “this story has just begun and advertisers will be forced to make more morality-based brand building decisions”.

Twitter reacted to Citron’s note, saying it’s been working to reign in the kind of abuses that the Amnesty report criticised them for.

“Our abusive behaviour policy strictly prohibits behaviour that harasses, intimidates or silences another user’s voice,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Vijaya Gadde who is Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Global Lead at Twitter also defended the company, claiming that it wasn’t clear how Amnesty defined abusive language in the report.

“I would note that the concept of ‘problematic’ content for the purposes of classifying content is one that warrants further discussion. It is unclear how (Amnesty has) defined or categorized such content, or if (they) are suggesting it should be removed from Twitter,” Gadde said in a statement.

The Amnesty study, however, defined “problematic content” as content that is hurtful or hostile, especially if repeated to an individual on multiple or cumulative occasions, but not as intense as an abusive tweet.

Also Read- Child Pornography Being Spread Through WhatsApp: Report

In its study, Amnesty International said that one in 10 tweets mentioning Black women politicians and journalists in a sample analysed by the organisation was abusive or problematic.

“We found that although abuse is targeted at women across the political spectrum, women of colour were much more likely to be impacted, and black women are disproportionately targeted,” Milena Marin, Senior Advisor for Tactical Research at Amnesty International said in a statement.

“Twitter’s failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalised voices,” Marin added. (IANS)

Next Story

Porn Bots Flood Twitter’s Trending Topics to Lure Users

According to Twitter’s “Sensitive Media Policy”, you may not post media that is excessively gory or share violent or adult content within a live video or in profile or header images. Media depicting sexual violence and/or assault is also not permitted

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Twitter, tweets, India
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Not just Facebook-owned Instagram, porn bots have now flooded Twitter and unlike Instagram, these spam accounts include photos of women in bikinis along with words relevant to trending topics on the micro-blogging platform to lure users.

According to a report in Engadget, these spams show up under the “Top” tab of Twitter’s trending section and are “even more brazen in their attempts to lure in gullible readers”.

Once clicked on these accounts, the users are taken to porn sites, asking for personal information, including email address, age, location and credit card number.

Since these spams are seen under the “Top” tab of the trending section, people see them first when visiting any key trending topic.

“All the accounts were created in August and they used the ‘Pinned Tweet’ feature of the app to try to promote a website,” said the report on Wednesday.

For example, a bot with the handle @calvi_anna said: “My WhatsApp is on the site in the profile information about me, call me. Watch my private videos for free after a simple registration”.

Once you click, you are redirected to porn sites.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“Some of these are the same sites you’ll come across when you fall for a scheme from the bots leaving comments on Instagram, except on Twitter they’re using trending topics to run their operation, the report added.

In a statement, Twitter said it is working hard to ensure this type of spam does not appear in search results or conversations.

“Sometimes, it can miss these dubious accounts and when that happens, people do have the option to report them,” Twitter told Engadget.

The appearance of such porn bots on Twitter’s trending topics comes at a time when the feature is already under scrutiny.

Also Read: Infosys Partners with Google for Expansion of Digital Services

The feature has been “blamed for gaslighting conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein, the American millionaire and convicted sex offender who recently committed suicide in a New York City jail”.

According to Twitter’s “Sensitive Media Policy”, you may not post media that is excessively gory or share violent or adult content within a live video or in profile or header images. Media depicting sexual violence and/or assault is also not permitted.

“Adult content is any consensually produced and distributed media that is pornographic or intended to cause sexual arousal,” reads the policy, adding that “If you share this content within Tweets, you need to mark your account as sensitive”. (IANS)